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Movies & TV SeriesAnalyze That (2002): Some Known Facts of This Movie

Analyze That (2002): Some Known Facts of This Movie

Analyze That manages to keep the chemistry between Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal that made the first film, Analyze This, so funny, but fails to come up with a new and original story to go with it.

It has been a few years since Mob Boss Paul Vitti (DeNiro) first required the help of shrink Ben Sobel (Crystal). Vitti has been doing his time at Sing Sing, where he has become the prison’s most respected inmate, except that someone is now trying to kill him. To get out, he fakes mental illness, singing and dancing to West Side Story songs and then slipping into a catatonic state. Sobel is called in to evaluate. Sobel’s analysis of Vitti—whom he assumes is faking—is one of the film’s comic highlights (it even provides the best outtakes seen during the closing credits).  Convinced, the FBI leaves Vitti in Sobel’s custody. As soon as they are a stone’s throw away from the prison, Vitti returns to his former self.

The plot follows Vitti’s attempts to go legit. He begins as a car salesman (“look at the size of that trunk, you can fit three bodies in there”); tries his luck as a restaurant maitre d’ (where he tells Joe Torre that the Yankees will win the World Series this year); and then becomes a jewelry salesman (where he can’t help but think of ways to rob the place). The legit opportunity of a lifetime comes in the form of TV producer who offers Vitti a job as a consultant for a Sopranos-like TV show called “Little Caeser.” By this time, however, Vitti has become bored (and embarrassed) by the legit life and uses the TV show as a cover for a lavish heist.

Whereas the original movie’s plot seemed to flow nicely, this one seems forced. Although the film’s climactic heist played nicely, it never quite seems to fit. The scenes involving Vitti’s quest for work could have been a comic highlight of the film, but sadly most of the jokes fall flat. The same can be said for the sequences involving the TV show. Add to that, a running joke regarding Ben’s relationship to his recently deceased father runs out of gas way too early.

Such wasted opportunities keep Analyze That from becoming the laugh-out-loud comedy it could have been. Instead, we are left to chuckle at the comic teaming of De Niro and Crystal. The chemistry between the two keeps the movie enjoyable, despite the story problems. And it is hard not to enjoy De Niro’s singing of West Side Story songs. That’s right, that’s the Godfather singing “I feel pretty.”  I give it a B-.

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